It can be hard to resist your dog’s asking eyes and adorable begging, but many of the foods your dog begs for can be dangerous to their health. However, there are some human foods that won’t upset your dog’s tummy and are okay to share -- in moderation of course. Next time your dog is begging for a handout, look down at your plate and see what’s cooking. If it’s one of the dog-friendly items listed below, give your buddy the “sit” command then reward them with a tasty bite. Or even better, make them wait until you’re done eating and give it to them in their bowl.
1. Peanut Butter
Most dogs go nuts over peanut butter. This sweet, gooey food is not only delicious to your dog, it’s also a good source of protein and healthy fat. Reward your dog with a creamy spoonful or smear some into a Kong toy or hollow bone. Your dog will thank you by busying themselves with their special treat for hours.
As long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant, a nibble of cheese makes a great reward. Choose a low-fat cheese like cottage cheese -- it will give your dog a protein boost, and because it’s bland, it’s not likely to cause stomach upset.
3. Cooked Chicken
Your dog’s nose might perk up when you put chicken on the grill, and it’s OK to share some poultry with your pal as long as the meat is well-cooked and boneless. Because chicken is high in protein, it can also be used as a temporary meal replacement if you ever find that you’ve forgotten to buy more dog food (tsk-tsk!).
Pumpkin is a wonderfully healthy snack for dogs. It’s a great source of fiber, which dogs should have for normal digestion and healthy stools. It also contains beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A that promotes eye health. Next time Halloween rolls around, pick up a little pumpkin and roast it for your pal. Or, buy a can of sugar-free canned pumpkin and scoop some into the dinner bowl. (Pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin with anything else mixed it is not okay to give to dogs.)
Does your dog give you doe-eyes when you’re scrambling eggs? Eggs are actually an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, so you can feel confident allowing your dog a bite. Eggs are also easily digestible and bland, so they can come in handy as a replacement meal if your pup has an upset stomach. Just don’t give them an omelet with onions, garlic, or salt -- these add-ons can be dangerous to dogs.
Salmon offers great health benefits to humans and animals alike. This delicious fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote skin and coat health, support the immune system, relieve allergy symptoms, and can ease inflammation associated with heart, kidney, skin, or joint conditions. Yes, omega-3 fatty acids really do work wonders. Give your dog cooked salmon, toss them some cooked fish skins, or add squirts of fish oil to their food.
An apple a day...? Maybe not every day, but apple slices make great, crunchy treats for dogs. They are packed with vitamin C and the grainy texture cleans your dog’s teeth and freshens their breath. Just be not to give your dog a whole apple -- the apple core is a choking hazard and the seeds contain cyanide. If the seeds are broken during chewing some of the cyanide could be absorbed by your dog, and over-consumption can be poisonous and over time, could harm your dog.
8. Green Beans
Dogs have a reputation for craving only meaty, strong-smelling foods, but in reality most dogs have a taste for what’s healthy, and green beans are certainly that. These fibrous, filling, low-calorie legumes are great for dogs on a weight loss plan -- just substitute them in for part of your dog’s regular meal. Many dogs also enjoy munching on frozen green beans, so keep a no-salt-added pack in the freezer and reward your dog with a handful from time to time.
Now that you know what’s safe, are you looking forward to indulging your furry foodie? Just remember that moderation is key, and it’s always best to check with your veterinarian before offering your dog any new or unusual foods.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.